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Marisa Elizundia | Creator | Emotional Salary Barometer

Marisa Elizundia: A Courageous Leader Redefining Thoughts About Work

Numerous individuals in recent times tend to give their best at their workplace to get successful results, but often it isn’t the case; at times, the efforts aren’t enough. It can affect individuals, leaders and organizations on many levels; it becomes essential to maintain and strengthen personal and professional development.
However, industry professionals never treated these problems as necessary, but one entrepreneur who understood that there are more benefits to the job than financial is Marisa Elizundia. The idea behind her venture is to spread awareness to understand, internalize and effectively capitalize on those non-financial  benefits derived from work.
Marisa is the Creator of the Emotional Salary Barometer. This online tool helps one know and understand their emotional salary to obtain clarity on designing and shaping their desired career. She introduced a concept that no one had taken the time or interest to research in-depth. This interest comes from her vast experience working in this area and from the observation and realization that when she looked at demotivation, lack of productivity, commitment, cooperation, etc. there were other reasons, often more or equally important than the financial aspect of work.  This led her to research the following question: when we take money out of the work equation, why do we work? As a result of this the Emotional Salary Barometer was born, which proved that the impact Emotional Salary has on people’s health, wellbeing, motivation, and productivity is more than we think.
The groundbreaking idea is to use the time one spends at work not only to earn money at the end of the month but also as a platform to help one grow personally, professionally, socially, and even transcendentally.
The Voyage Filled with Storms
For the past 25 years, Marisa has worked in the people development business in multinational organizations, previously as an employee and currently as an entrepreneur. Throughout that time, she has always been passionate about people and the impact that work has on their lives. She has seen firsthand that apart from the financial benefits you get from work there are other factors that  have  nothing to do with money or financial value and, have an enormous impact on overall satisfaction, health, motivation, wellbeing, and productivity. These aspects, which could be seen as vague or unclear or may not result in an immediate impact, need constant involvement and shared responsibility from the organization, its leaders, and the individuals themselves.
It is why it’s very common that People Development Strategies receive the least budget. This means that the policies and strategies implemented are poor, inefficient, or that a lot of money is spent on activities that do not solve the problem at hand or give good results.
Marisa expresses that her biggest challenge was introducing the new concept to the market (Emotional Salary) that is different (but complementary) to what is common in the Human Resources areas, such as Employee Engagement Strategies, Employee Experience, Employee Satisfaction, and more.
Marisa and her team saw the importance of introducing strategies and policies based on Emotional Salary as something that was going to be seen as absolutely necessary, something obvious, and that the leaders of the organizations would recognize its usefulness, importance, and necessity immediately.
They realized early on that this was not the case. In HR, it can be difficult to introduce something new and innovative, and it is much less risky to stick with the status quo of what is known or what has been done for a long time. Yet ESB’s research demonstrated time and again the fundamental importance of taking Emotional Salary into account.
When it comes to individual workers, Marisa and her team have faced two challenges. The first is the lack of responsibility to take action to increase one’s own Emotional Salary. There is still an expectation that the company or the leaders are solely responsible for employees’ Emotional Salary, and this is not the case. It is a shared responsibility, and if the individual does not do their part, an essential part is missing.
The other challenge is that many people believe that Emotional Salary is intended to justify a lower financial salary, and nothing could be further from the truth. On the contrary, what Marisa and her team advocate and push for is that it complements a fair and reasonable financial salary, which will have many and very important benefits for everyone: employees, leaders, and the organization.
The Soaring Influence
Marisa realized how much her job meant to her after she had to leave for familial reasons. She realized what she appreciated and loved about her work and it rose far beyond the financial aspect.
In her journey, Marisa has been supported and accompanied by several women entrepreneurs. Especially Clodagh Beaty, her business partner, has been a constant support and has been crucial for the project to keep growing steadily.
Marisa believes that Martin Seligman’s research on character strengths has permeated all of her work.
Value-Driven Work Culture
Emotional Salary Barometer leads with a culture that aligns with what it wants to see in all organizations. Below are the few values that Marisa and her team imply at the organization.

  • They communicate openly and honestly.
  • They risk making mistakes.
  • They allow space for creativity to flourish.
  • They celebrate in a big way when things go well, and when things go wrong, the team supports each other in a big way, without blame.
  • They take a real interest in what others have to say.

For Marisa, the most significant thing is that she stays in touch with her team even when they don’t get to see each other for a long time.
Counting the Days
Marisa’s vision is to redefine work and see it as something more than the purely transactional aspect it has been seen as until now. In order for this to happen, companies need to implement People Development strategies that take into account the importance of Emotional Salary.
By using the Emotional Salary Barometer, which is based on in-depth research with high levels of reliability and validity, organizations can get a clear roadmap of exactly what needs to be done and how to do it. Marisa is very proud of the research and its impact worldwide.
Sailing Through the Winds
Marisa advises budding entrepreneurs venturing into the People Development industry to have a lot of patience. She says, “One of my biggest surprises is that I thought my product was so good that I would have queues of customers. And obviously, it didn’t.”
“A lot of work, patience, flexibility, openness. And above all, to take into account that the emotional cost of being an entrepreneur is high because of the ups and downs that one is a victim of in just one day,” concludes Marisa.